State Rep. Dennis Paul shares thoughts on upcoming legislative session

Rep. Dennis Paul, R-Houston (top right) spoke during a Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership webinar about the upcoming legislative session. (Screenshot via livestream)
Rep. Dennis Paul, R-Houston (top right) spoke during a Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership webinar about the upcoming legislative session. (Screenshot via livestream)

Rep. Dennis Paul, R-Houston (top right) spoke during a Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership webinar about the upcoming legislative session. (Screenshot via livestream)

The 87th Texas legislative session begins in January, and local legislators will have some new challenges.

State Rep. Dennis Paul, R-Houston, spoke during a Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership webinar Aug. 24 about the upcoming session and the issues legislators may address.

For one, due to COVID-19, the upcoming state budget will be extra tight, Paul said.

The state comptroller has indicated the budget will be $4.6 billion smaller than the last budget, at least in part due to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

State agencies have been told to cut spending by 5% across the board. Legislators hope that will make the hole less deep than they think when the session begins early next year, Paul said.


"The economy’s taken a real bad hit, but things are progressing," he said, noting the stock market is climbing again while unemployment is dropping.

Of course, Bay Area residents are concerned about coastal protection from hurricanes and tropical storms, especially with two forming in the Gulf of Mexico, Paul said.

"The storm coming this in this week is gonna show how bad we need that," he said.

Three industrial areas around the state received $4 billion in federal funding for coastal protection after a $1.6 billion local match. Those projects, which Paul did not share details on, may demonstrate the need for a large-scale project in the form of a coastal barrier across Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula, Paul said.

Legislators are ready to push for coastal spine protection, and Paul hopes a disaster this week is not required to show how dire the need is, he said.

"We’re gonna do whatever we can to get that done," Paul said of the coastal barrier project. "I think this project is gonna be our generation’s most important thing that we do."

Additionally, Paul said the session will concentrate on how to help school districts and families affected by virtual learning and other disruptions at school districts, expanding the Grand Parkway through League City and more.
By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.

<

MOST RECENT

District officials shared storm damage photos at a Feb. 22 board meeting. (Courtesy Clear Creek ISD)
Clear Creek ISD updates: 88% of campuses sustained damage during winter storm, quarantine practices revised

District safety officials briefed trustees at a board meeting Feb. 22 about the extent of damages and gave other details related to CCISD’s storm responses. Of the 42 campuses, 37 sustained damages requiring immediate action, officials said.

key in door lock
Evictions continue in Houston as new measures aim to stem tide

Over 32,000 eviction cases were filed in Harris County courts in 2020.

Houston City Hall in rainbow lighting
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrates five years of service

The organization is open to all and serves members throughout the Greater Houston area.

Reedy Chapel, one of more than a dozen historically Black churches in Galveston, is a stop on the tour. (Courtesy Clayton Kolavo/GICVB Marketing)
Galveston tourism app guides visitors through city’s historically Black institutions, monuments

The interactive app, offered by the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, allows visitors to customize a tour itinerary based on interests and time allocation.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather. (Community Impact staff)
Q&A: Greater Houston Builders Association President Keith Luechtefeld discusses power, plumbing, frozen pipes after Winter Storm Uri

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather.

Winter Storm Uri led to closures across the Greater Houston area during the third week of February. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)
‘It’s been a rough year for us’: Expert explains economic effects of winter storm, ongoing pandemic in Houston region

“It's been a rough year for us economically; it's been a rough year for us public health wise. It's just been a rough year for us psychologically—first the coronavirus and then the freeze," said Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research with the Greater Houston Partnership.

The $560 million central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E. (Courtesy Houston Airport System)
Parking garage at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to be demolished to make way for new Mickey Leland International Terminal

The international central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.

Emerging technology and alternative energy sectors could help ease the blow of an oil and gas industry downturn in Houston caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a Houston-area economist said. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Greater Houston area could see economic relief from pandemic around mid-2021, economist says

Emerging technology and alternative-energy sectors could help ease the blow of the downturn in Houston's oil and gas industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.